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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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liquidated and the Anglo-Soviet front had arisen across Europe.
In the hour of Russia's great peril, the Kremlin had concluded a pact
with England, but when the defeat of Germany had begun to dawn on
the horizon-, the Kremlin commenced its usual procedure of interpreting
the Pact according to the existing situation, passing from a friendly
alliance to a more or less open dispute with England, placing demands
which, in the event of their acceptance, would enable Russia to assume
that position held here-to by Germany, i.e., territorially in the heart of
Europe, and, when the destruction of the Reich had been accomplished,
as the sole dominating Power of Europe.
At Teheran Stalin demanded half Europe as a £ zone of security,' i.e.,
f frontier zone,' which, according to Russian standards, would at once be
c purged ' and reduced to irnpotency by eliminating every factor of strength,
man-power and industry. On the other side there stood a Tory Britain,
whose one desire was to finish the war with the utmost dispatch and turn
again to enjoy her high standard of life; that Britain who, having long
ago satisfied her own desire for power and expansion, could repeat the
words of Napoleon's Marshals, spoken during the invasion of Russia:
" What are we seeking for so far on the East, we have great chateaux on
the Loire, magnificent collections acquired during our expeditions,
beautiful women waiting for us, and yet for years we have been sleeping
in tents on palliasses of straw." That Britain was afraid to prolong the
war after the destruction of Germany, afraid to grasp the sceptre as leader
of Europe; she felt herself incapable of this task. Europe seemed a
burden beyond the strength of that Tory Britain and beyond . . . her will.
She turned to America . . . but Roosevelt was endeavouring to convince
Stalin how happy the world would be if only they co-operated. But
which world ? A Capitalist or Soviet Communist ?óRussian ?
After three days ofe illness,' largely commented on in the World Press
and House of Commons, Churchill gave ground and accepted Stalin's
thesis of Russian leadership in Eastern and Central Europe. Agreement
was finally reached. Europe was partitioned. Poland was left within,
the Russian c zone of security.' And even more important still, the
Russians were to enter and occupy part of the Balkans. Churchill
bargained for and managed to retain Greece, for the protection of the
Mediterranean, but of what, in truth, did this protection constitute ? The
Germans had over-run it within a few days, and it would mean only a
question of a few hours for a force of planes and air-borne infantry. And
what was to be the ultimate fate of Turkey ? This and other heavy
thoughts obsessed the leader of Britain. The Prime Minister was not
over-anxious to hurry back to his country. He had to adjust himself to
his new role as the Englishman who had just renounced the British
leadership in Europe, and the creed of a lifetime, and who, from that
very day, had to learn to profess diametrically the reverse.
The decision taken by Roosevelt was one of the most momentous in